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‘Black Panther’ Sequel Marks 2nd Biggest Debut of 2022


By LINDSEY BAHR, AP Screenwriter

The box office has come alive with the long-awaited release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

Marvel’s sequel grossed $180 million in ticket sales from more than 4,396 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, according to The Walt Disney Co. estimates on Sunday, making it the second-biggest opening ever. year behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”. Overseas, it grossed an additional $150 million from 50 territories, bringing its worldwide total to $330 million.

“Wakanda Forever” was eagerly awaited by audiences and exhibitors alike, which has been going through a slow period at the box office since the end of the summer movie season and there were fewer big-budget blockbusters in the pipeline. The film got off to a mighty start a little stronger than even the first film with an $84 million opening day, including $28 million from Thursday previews.

“Some were hoping for maybe $200 million like the first movie, but it’s solid,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “It’s the type of film that cinemas really need to attract audiences.”

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The first film opened to $202 million in February 2018 and has grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of all time and a cultural phenomenon. . A sequel was inevitable and development began soon after with the return of director Ryan Coogler, but that all changed after the unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman in August 2020. “Wakanda Forever” instead became The Death of King T. ‘Challa / Boseman’s Black Panther, and the grieving kingdom he left behind. Returning cast members include Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, and Danai Gurira, who face a new foe in Tenoch Huerta’s Namor. The film would also face more complications, including Wright’s injury and some setbacks related to COVID-19. In total, it cost $250 million, not including marketing and promotion.

AP movie screenwriter Jake Coyle wrote in his review that “‘Wakanda Forever’ is too long, a bit heavy, and somehow mystifyingly heads to a climax on a barge in the middle of the Atlantic. But the mastery Coogler’s fluidity of blending intimacy with spectacle remains captivating.”

It currently holds 84% ​​on Rotten Tomatoes and, as is often the case with comic book movies, viewership scores are even higher.

Superhero movies have done well during the pandemic, but none have yet reached the heights of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which opened to $260.1 million in December 2021. Other big releases include “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($187.4 million in May), “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($144.2 million in July) and “The Batman” ( $134 million in March).

“Wakanda Forever” is the first film to open more than $100 million since “Thor” in July, which has been difficult for exhibitors already dealing with a schedule that has about 30% fewer wide releases than a normal year.

Holdbacks populated the rest of the top five, as no film dared to launch nationally against a Marvel juggernaut. Second place went to DC superhero “Black Adam,” with $8.6 million, bringing his domestic total to $151.1 million. “Ticket to Paradise” landed in third place, weekend four, with $6.1 million. Julia Roberts and George Clooney’s romantic comedy has grossed nearly $150 million worldwide. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” and “Smile” rounded out the top five with $3.2 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

Some awards hopefuls have struggled in their expansions lately, but Searchlight Pictures’ “The Banshees of Inisherin,” starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, feels like an exception. Martin McDonagh’s film expanded to 960 theaters in its fourth weekend and earned No. 7 on the charts with $1.7 million, bringing its total to $5.8 million.

“It’s been a very interesting post-summer period for theaters, with some gems doing well like ‘Ticket to Paradise’ and ‘Smile’,” Dergarabedian said. “But movie theaters can’t survive on non-blockbuster style movies. The industry needs more.

After “Black Panther”, the next blockbuster on the program is “Avatar: The Way of Water”, which will arrive on December 16.

The weekend wasn’t completely without more high profile releases. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical drama “The Fabelmans” debuted at four theaters in New York and Los Angeles with $160,000. Universal and Amblin will release the film in more theaters in the coming weeks to build excitement around the likely Oscar contender. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play the parents of Spielberg’s replacement, Sammy Fabelman, who falls in love with movies and movies as his parents’ marriage crumbles.

“It will be an interesting holiday season,” Dergarabedian said. “I think a lot of dramas and indie films will have their time to shine in the next couple of months.”

Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $180 million.

2. “Black Adam,” $8.6 million.

3. “Ticket to Paradise,” $6.1 million.

4. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” $3.2 million.

5. “Smile,” $2.3 million.

6. “Prey for the Devil,” $2 million.

7. “The Banshees of Inisherin,” $1.7 million.

8. “One Piece Film Red,” $1.4 million.

10. “Yashoda”, $380,000.

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.

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